New to handguns, right handed but left eye dominant.
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Old 10-30-2011, 02:04 PM   #1
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Default New to handguns, right handed but left eye dominant.

Ok so hello all and thanks to any replies. Definitely looking for opinions or experiences from other people with the similar set up.

Basically, I am looking to start learning to shoot a handgun and am stuck with the fun curse of being right handed but left eye dominant. Now the only handgun experience I have is shooting off rounds for fun as a kid, wasting ammo with a M9 in the military, attempting to shoot at javelina pigs in Arizona, and then most recently actually going to a range with a bunch of co-workers to shoot at targets with a variety of calibers and handguns/revolvers (basically wanted an idea of what I liked the feel of before going to shop). I spent about half the time shooting with my right hand/right eye, other right hand/left eye, and the difference with the 22 off the bat was huge. Left eye was great grouping and near where I was trying to hit, right eye was just all over the place. With a 357, 44 or 45 not much difference but I was also just tossing rounds down the range (was there mostly to get a feel for what felt good in my hand, and had so many shooting same targets was hard to find my shots).

Now I know no-matter what I do I need to just get a 22 that I feel comfortable holding, a ton a rounds, and lots of days on the range. I'm debating forcing myself to get better right hand/right eye, go ahead and shoot left eye/right hand which seemed to work best, or since I'm just learning a pistol go left hand/left eye (which I didn't think to try at the time).

My concern is, is there any way this might effect my shooting with a rifle if I learn to shoot differently? I shoot right handed/right eye, and the only time it ever really gets annoying is if I am shooting with my left eye closed for an hour or two straight. I initially tried left hand/left eye with a rifle, and though my grouping was always good i could never get comfortable and keep my position consistent (I'd throw quarter size groups all over the place). When I did finally decide to go right/right I spent the next 6 years of my military life shooting expert or hawk-eye every time I picked up a rifle. Shooting for fun or hunting was just as easy. If I decide to go left handed/left eye with a pistol, I am wondering if this will mess me up with my rifle shooting.

I guess the other option would be to split my shooting time between pistol and rifle at the range, but that is a whole other chunk of change I would have to consider spending.

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Old 10-30-2011, 05:39 PM   #2
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i guess you could get a pirate eye patch and overtime it is supposed to switch your dominance. not sure if it works or not. im right and right.

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Old 10-30-2011, 06:04 PM   #3
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Ok so hello all and thanks to any replies. Definitely looking for opinions or experiences from other people with the similar set up.

Basically, I am looking to start learning to shoot a handgun and am stuck with the fun curse of being right handed but left eye dominant. Now the only handgun experience I have is shooting off rounds for fun as a kid, wasting ammo with a M9 in the military, attempting to shoot at javelina pigs in Arizona, and then most recently actually going to a range with a bunch of co-workers to shoot at targets with a variety of calibers and handguns/revolvers (basically wanted an idea of what I liked the feel of before going to shop). I spent about half the time shooting with my right hand/right eye, other right hand/left eye, and the difference with the 22 off the bat was huge. Left eye was great grouping and near where I was trying to hit, right eye was just all over the place. With a 357, 44 or 45 not much difference but I was also just tossing rounds down the range (was there mostly to get a feel for what felt good in my hand, and had so many shooting same targets was hard to find my shots).

Now I know no-matter what I do I need to just get a 22 that I feel comfortable holding, a ton a rounds, and lots of days on the range. I'm debating forcing myself to get better right hand/right eye, go ahead and shoot left eye/right hand which seemed to work best, or since I'm just learning a pistol go left hand/left eye (which I didn't think to try at the time).

My concern is, is there any way this might effect my shooting with a rifle if I learn to shoot differently? I shoot right handed/right eye, and the only time it ever really gets annoying is if I am shooting with my left eye closed for an hour or two straight. I initially tried left hand/left eye with a rifle, and though my grouping was always good i could never get comfortable and keep my position consistent (I'd throw quarter size groups all over the place). When I did finally decide to go right/right I spent the next 6 years of my military life shooting expert or hawk-eye every time I picked up a rifle. Shooting for fun or hunting was just as easy. If I decide to go left handed/left eye with a pistol, I am wondering if this will mess me up with my rifle shooting.

I guess the other option would be to split my shooting time between pistol and rifle at the range, but that is a whole other chunk of change I would have to consider spending.
Hi Wolf,

...well you are not alone. About 35% of our students are either right handed/left eye dominate, or left handed/right eye dominate.

The big difference in shooting a handgun between right hand/left eye, and right hand/right eye.....is about 2.5"! That is, when look at your target and bring the handgun up to align with the target, your handgun will be about 2.5 inches farther to the left (as viewed from the center of our body) than those who are right handed/right eye dominate. It is so little of a difference, it's more complex thinking about it, than just doing it. In other words, let your dominate eye dictate center-line alignment and enjoy hitting the mark. You can verify this 2.5" yourself, or with a friend. Close your left eye and sight in on your target. Note the position and location of the gun in front of you. Keep the gun on target, open your left eye and then close your right eye. The gun now seems to be off to the right. Swing the gun over to the left and align the sights with the target. You will notice about a 2.5" movement. The steadier you hold on target while switching from one eye to the other, the more precise you can judge the difference. If you have a friend that can stand off to the side and position a ruler somewhere in reference to the sight line, you can get a pretty close measurement. So, how does this 2.5" difference change the rest of the fundamentals? Not very much for most shooters.

There are of course other means to address the issue. You can, like you have already experimented with, change your dominate hand. You can also force your none dominate eye to do the sighting. You can do this by simply closing your left eye while aiming. You can squint with your left eye, or you can use a shooting aid, which are available at various shooting accessory stores, like a pair of shooting glasses which in various fashions restrict or block your dominate eye. The shooting accessories work fine for competition (as long as you have good vision in your none dominate eye), but are not very desirable for self defense, as common sense would dictate.

With a lot of dedication you can learn to change your dominate eye. This is an option, if you have good vision in your none dominate eye, but it is a long road to success, which some never reach, where others have managed to pull off. We have to keep in mind, training our brain to change our dominate eye is a constant effort for several months, during most all aspect of your life, not just while at the range shooting. We have to drive, read, walk, and function during most of our waking hours, forcing the non-dominate eye to strengthen and take over. The risk with this for a small few, is not just failure, that is easy to live with, but becoming cross dominate, where both eyes constantly fight for dominance.

You of course have the option you have already tried, and that is to change, or train and learn to shoot left handed. This is usually easier for folks to deal with than changing their eye dominance, but it does take some commitment and some give up long before they approach some success.

I'm going to make an assumption you have good vision in your right eye. For the rifle, we don't have the luxury of holding the gun 2.5" to the left (although there are special stock modification that can be made to accommodate this, as well as special sight mounts). We can learn to shoot left handed, or simply force the right eye to work at the moment we are fine tuning the sight alignment and firing the round(s), by either shutting the left eye down, squinting, or partial blocking it with a shooting aid.

I am right handed and right eye dominate. I was born left handed. I shoot handgun, rifle and shotgun both right and left handed. I use both eyes open with the handgun, regardless of the hand I am holding the gun in. When shooting left hand with the rifle, I close my right eye during that brief moment of shooting. When I shoot left handed with the shotgun (birds), I fully close my right eye when I mount the gun and keep it closed during the alignment, swing, and follow through.

During a fight, it is better to keep both eyes open, but not necessary to become a good gun fighter. We really don't want to keep one eye closed during the entire fight, but if closing one eye enables us to acquire sight alignment and firing, that works when we get lead on target. See the bad guy, determine to fire, close one eye, fire, open both eyes, evaluate and repeat if necessary. Shooting the handgun, I would recommend, don't worry about the eye dominance, let it be what it is, keep both eyes open and adjust the position of the gun in front of you that small 2.5" to get a good sight alignment.

Hope this helps.....

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Old 10-31-2011, 06:04 AM   #4
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Sounds about what I was thinking, and thanks for the responses. I definitely would prefer learning to shoot without having to wear special gear and shifting the sight slightly so I am shooting from the left eye didn't seem that big of a deal. I just wanted to be sure it wouldn't mess with my rifle shooting too much (didn't think it would but figured it wouldn't hurt to ask before starting). Now to just pick a 22 that feels right and off to practice practice practice.

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Old 10-31-2011, 07:32 AM   #5
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I'm a righty, but left eye dominant. In the hand, pistols feel right for me either way, but I can't hit squat shooting righty. That applies to both eyes. The right eye wont focus if I'm shooting righty, and if I try to push across body to use the left eye, the odd perspective pulls the left out of focus and I wind up looking at the slide/barrel.

Shooting long guns is an odd manner. Well actually I take that back. Holding a rifle or such righty feels so odd (I can't remember it was like that when I first started shooting though). So I kinda luck out there, left eye, left handed rifle shooter. Turns out I shoot left handed left eye pistol too. But for everything else I'm a righty.

Well... I play billiards lefty too

Ultimately, if you keep doing it the way that works best for you know, after some time, you'll never imagine doing it any other way. By the same token, if you can get yourself right eye dominant and can shoot right handed, DO IT! You'll avoid hitting yourself in the face when using a bolt gun and you'll actually be able to do a decently fast reload with a shotgun. Because I'm right handed, but shoot lefty, things like reloading become tricky because you're now forced to use your left hand as if it's your dominant hand. Only really a problem for the "tactically" minded though.

For example. To comfortably reload a shotgun with your right hand, shooting lefty, you have to take your right hand off the fore end to reach for a shell. This puts almost the whole length and weight of the gun on your left hand which is in close to your body. It's nearly impossible to keep the gun on target like this. You HAVE to turn your left arm up to support the weight. So you have to spend a lot of time developing the motor functions in your left hand to be able to reload smoothly. But that's just my experience, and having a 26" barrel is a part of that experience.

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Old 10-31-2011, 03:17 PM   #6
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~~For example. To comfortably reload a shotgun with your right hand, shooting lefty, you have to take your right hand off the fore end to reach for a shell. This puts almost the whole length and weight of the gun on your left hand which is in close to your body. It's nearly impossible to keep the gun on target like this. You HAVE to turn your left arm up to support the weight. So you have to spend a lot of time developing the motor functions in your left hand to be able to reload smoothly. But that's just my experience, and having a 26" barrel is a part of that experience.
You bring up some good points and it appears you have it worked out for you.

Here is some additional information that may help some folks with this right/left thing....

A lot of handguns, such as the Glock and the 1911 (with one modification), which we term as right handed, are actually better handled as left handed! For example the controls on a Glock, being the magazine release and the slide stop, are better situated and manipulated with the left hand, rather than the right. That comes as a big surprise to most shooters and I will probably get a lot of argument from that statement, but it is fact and proven. The 1911, needs the ambidextrous safety and it become a far better left handed gun that a right. I will qualify these statements with, for most people hand size, or the average hand size. Those will extremely long fingers, and those with extremely short fingers, it makes little difference. But, for most folks, it is easier to handle a lot of our handguns with our primary left hand. Double action revolvers are as much a left handed gun as a right handed gun.

Shotguns are the same as well. For example the 870 needs a reverse or ambidextrous safety installed and it becomes a better left handed gun than right. The 590 is already a left handed gun. When loading the shotgun in the field or in defense, we hold up the gun with our primary hand located at the pistol grip, while holding it in the direction of the threat. For most shooters, this is a bit difficult at first, because their muscles are weak for doing this, but it doesn't take long to build up those muscles and using the shoulder and arm skeleton to help. Using a side saddle on a pump or autoloading shotgun, the lefty is always faster to reload than the righty, notwithstanding additional training.

The AR-15 is another that needs a safety switch reversal or ambidextrous safety, but everything is well suited for the left handed shooter. Again, we load with the AR pointed toward our threat, shouldered and holding it up with our primary hand at the grip, and the magazine release is in perfect position for the magazine exchange. One could argue that the charging handle is right handed.

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Old 10-31-2011, 03:25 PM   #7
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Sounds about what I was thinking, and thanks for the responses. I definitely would prefer learning to shoot without having to wear special gear and shifting the sight slightly so I am shooting from the left eye didn't seem that big of a deal. I just wanted to be sure it wouldn't mess with my rifle shooting too much (didn't think it would but figured it wouldn't hurt to ask before starting). Now to just pick a 22 that feels right and off to practice practice practice.
....there you go.....I think you are on the right track. Sometimes we over think things (sometimes we need to!).

Good luck with the 22 search. Now I'm going to go hide, I'm going to get blasted over the Glock being a left handed gun thing, I'm sure!!

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Old 10-31-2011, 04:21 PM   #8
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I'm cross dominant too. I used to shoot a single shot air-pistol a thousand years ago.
I put a layer of frosted ‘magic’ tape on the lens of my safety glasses covering my strong eye. No more squinting, no more closing, no more problem.

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Old 10-31-2011, 06:12 PM   #9
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I'm cross dominant too. I used to shoot a single shot air-pistol a thousand years ago.
I put a layer of frosted ‘magic’ tape on the lens of my safety glasses covering my strong eye. No more squinting, no more closing, no more problem.
That's an easy, quick and cheap fix, good contribution Vincine. We use that during our training with 1, 2, and 3 layers. Each layer reducing the vision to simulate loss of vision from whatever injury, sweat, blood, etc.. We also progress to covering both eyes as well as some other handicaps.

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Old 10-31-2011, 08:02 PM   #10
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We also progress to covering both eyes as well as some other handicaps.
!!! Live rounds?
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